Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 39, Issue 8, August 2010

Prostate specific antigen Useful screening tool or potential liability?

Shomik Sengupta Niall Corcorane Patrick Mahar Karinne Ludlow
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The uncertainty regarding prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening for prostate cancer has not been alleviated, despite recent randomised controlled trials and position statements released by authoritative bodies.
This article summarises authoritative position statements by representative bodies in Australia and describes legal considerations for a general practitioner when deciding whether to order PSA tests as a screening tool for prostate cancer.
Prostate specific antigen as a primary screening tool is generally not endorsed by most authoritative bodies in Australia, with the exception in some circumstances for men 55–69 years of age. Where asymptomatic patients request a PSA be undertaken, a GP can be justified both to order a PSA test or not to, such is the context of peer professional opinion provisions in Australian legislation and conflicting authoritative position statements regarding PSA.Where there is still ongoing uncertainty, the matter may be appropriately referred for specialist consideration.

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